When we refer to biological, we directly refer to everything that relates to life, to living organisms. Organic farming, for its part, is based on the valorization of natural biological processes . An organic product therefore comes from natural production not chemically treated, including by pesticides.
Consequently, we can speak of organic textile when it is made from plant material. These could then be textiles whose raw material comes, for example, from bamboo, linen, hemp, eucalyptus and obviously, cotton. In these textiles, only cotton is regularly and massively treated with pesticides during intensive cultivation.
On the other hand, taking the example of polyester, it cannot be qualified as an organic textile because not only does it not come from plant material but it is, coming from petroleum, a textile derived from chemical material.
But why are pesticides undesirable?
There is currently a lot of scientific research demonstrating the undesirable effects of pesticides. Although this is complex and a multitude of effects are noted, the main ones concern environmental pollution and effects on human health.
Air pollution : Pesticides definitely contribute to air pollution. During their application, these being volatile, a large part of the molecules are transported by the wind to other regions and are a potential threat to surrounding species.
Water pollution : The application of pesticides involves contamination of waterways. Since water is part of a system, pesticides circulate freely. The US Geological Survey , an American environmental body, has estimated that 100% of surface waterways and 90% of well water are contaminated with pesticides.
Also, the use of chemical fertilizers promotes the development of aquatic plants which will have the effect of changing the ecosystem and reducing the oxygen level. This has the effect of making certain animal species vulnerable and causing a loss of biodiversity.
Aquatic and animal life: There are multiple adverse effects on aquatic, avian and terrestrial animal life. It has been noted in several studies that pesticides reduce the effectiveness of the immune system, disrupt the endocrine system (thyroid and reproductive) and may be carcinogenic.
And the human being in all this ?
As we have just seen, the use of pesticides contaminates all the main elements with which humans come into contact. Indeed, when we talk about air and water quality and add food and clothing, we can say with certainty that we are in frequent contact with these substances. Thus, another issue becomes of concern. Many of these substances are bioaccumulative . Human beings are at the top of the food chain, so there is a high risk of contamination. Furthermore, being an animal species, humans are not immune to the effects mentioned above: endocrine, reproductive and immune disruptions . The World Health Organization estimates that each year, between 20,000 and 200,000 deaths are due to pesticides. These deaths occur mainly in developing countries where around a third of the pesticides used do not meet international quality standards.
A major challenge
It has been shown that the majority of pesticides are sprayed or spread globally on cultivated plots and that these substances do not mainly reach the intended target. Indeed, it seems that more than 95% of insecticides and herbicides sprayed reach a destination other than their targets. This means that the vast majority of pesticides used are a net loss, without any benefit. It is estimated that France uses 66,600 tonnes of pesticides annually , that it is the third largest consumer in the world and that this consumption is growing worldwide.
What to do individually?
We certainly do not have the immediate power to change things globally! However, we are at the forefront and we invite you all to do your part. There are several worthy alternatives. You can have access to a basket of fruits and vegetables supported by the community , local and organic, you can have a vegetable garden (on land, on a roof, on a balcony, etc.), you can also buy locally since our Laws have already banned several pesticides. Another avenue remains, and we preach for our parish, to encourage the purchase of organic clothing. When we know that the United States is among the largest users of pesticides and that almost a third of the quantity used is for cotton cultivation , we realize that purchasing organic clothing is significant.